Just back from California after three months of intensive acupuncture to treat newly diagnosed bowel inflammation, I converted to fully organic and unmanufactured food. I was confident in my canned jars, my natural cleaning products and my Teflon-free pans and pans, I lived in a virtually healthy and nontoxic environment. However, there was one area of ​​my life where I did not do a thorough cleaning and it concerned my personal hygiene products. I thought about the wardrobe in my bathroom and the many beautifully packaged products that lined the shelves. I now think that this cabinet should be permanently sealed with a label: danger!

My initial shock did not come from what I had read on the component labels. This horror came later. My surprise was that they were there and I had never thought of reading them. Having suffered from digestive diseases for more than three years before being diagnosed, I used to read the labels of everything I ate. I do not know why I had never read the labels of products that I broadcast, inhaled, applied, absorbed. I was shocked to learn that my toothpaste contained the same sweeteners found in light products and that cetyl alcohol, the main ingredient in my shampoo, is a by-product of the oil industry. Both my conditioner and my styling product contain methylchloroisothiazolinone, a well-known irritant that can cause chemical burns in high levels. It has been removed from the makeup of most cosmetics except for those with limited skin contact.

My expensive face tonic from Kheils contains imidazolidinylurea, better known as formaldehyde. It is also found in my makeup remover. No mention of the chemical reactions that occur when I put formaldehide from my eye makeup remover on a chlorine bleached cotton to remove triethanolamine mascara (a precursor to a known carcinogen, nitrosamine, which is also found in shave gel) and mix in a black halo around my eyes.

As worrisome as the chemicals in these products are, I was relatively reassured by the fact that they were changing over the years. When I run out of a product, I buy a new one, I try a new brand. Thus, over the last few months, I have replaced the products I use daily with organic products with lower risks. However, the only product I’ve been faithful to over the past 15 years is the one that concerns me the most. None of the components are indicated on the packaging of this product. This is the product I least expected, a product I bought out of habit, always in a hurry when I ran out of it and used in our most intimate part.THIS PRODUCT IS THE TAMPAX BUFFER.

During meticulous research, I discovered that the most dangerous chemicals were used for their manufacture and I discovered the horrible and deadly effects that these products have on the health of the women who use them. I was horrified when I discovered the dangers that these chemicals, which were transmitted by the mother during pregnancy, represented for her baby.

Finally, I have been looking for alternatives to conventional tampons and have found them available and safer for our own health and the environment.

The components of tampax: The less we see them, the less we think

The average woman with five days of menstruation per month for 38 years will use an average of 11,400 tampons in her lifetime. With an average of 73 million American women of childbearing age, the level of toxicity of branded tampons is not just a personal concern, but a problem that affects all women of childbearing age.

Defining the exact composition and chemical components of TAMPAX buffers is virtually impossible. Although tampons are used in a way that requires prolonged contact with one of the most porous parts and the most absorbent mucous membranes of our anatomy, these feminine hygiene products are classified by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). as a medical instrument. Also, manufacturers are not required to comply with the same labeling rules as those in effect for foods, drugs or cosmetics. As with food distribution toxicity testing, chemical buffering is performed by manufacturers or private investigators whose findings are presented to regulators. Scientific researchers are paid by those who make and sell the stamps, whether they are safe or not. Therefore, it is up to consumers to do their own research.

Procter & Gamble, the maker of tampax tampons, keeps secret the recipe for this chemical soup. Since American women spend an average of two billion dollars a year on sanitary napkins and chemical tampons, the truth about these toxic products is not going to be revealed.


Originally, the pads were made of 100% cotton. When women complained of leaks, manufacturers increased their absorbency by mixing cotton with highly absorbent synthetic fibers such as polyester, polyacrylate, viscose and carboxyethyl cellulose. At the beginning of the 1980s, rumors spread about the buffers when 38 women died of toxic shock syndromes (TTS), a bacteriological infection related to the use of super absorbent tampons. Following these events, although they denied any connection with these deaths, the manufacturers of tampons changed the composition of their products. In private testing, it was determined that these synthetic materials attract bacteria that lead to TTS. The least harmful of these plagues was a blend of viscose, and that’s exactly what’s left in today’s classic tampons.

Most tampons are treated with chemicals that have no place in a product that is so intimate for women.

Tampax manufactures its tampons from a blend of viscose and conventionally grown cotton. About 38.1 tons of pesticides are sprayed on 14.4 million hectares of conventional cotton grown each year in the United States … These chemicals are among the most toxic used in agriculture and the Agency for the Protection of the Environment said seven of these chemicals among the top 15 used for the production of this cotton as probable carcinogens for humans. Toxic cotton is a problem, but certainly not the only one.

The viscose used in Tampax is made from wood pulp and hundreds of chemicals are used during the wood conversion process. It is in the chlorine used to whiten the wood pulp that lies the greatest danger. The process creates chlorinated hydrocarbons, a group of hazardous chemicals, one of the most problematic by-products is dioxins, one of the most toxic substances known.

In response to consumer and US government claims under their Women’s Health and Dioxin Act, followed by the Swine Research and Safety Act (protection of women from dioxin and toxic shock syndrome) ) the tampon industry has recently changed its bleaching method by a chlorine-free method.

This method replaces chlorine gas with chlorine dioxide, a chemical consisting of two oxygen atoms bonded to a chlorine atom.

Chlorine dioxide is known for its disinfectant properties, … and is used to control harmful microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses or fungi on inanimate objects and surfaces. In 1967, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) registered for the first time the liquid form of chlorine dioxide used as a disinfectant. In 1988, the EPA listed chlorine dioxide gas as a sterilization agent. Chlorine dioxide kills microorganisms by disrupting the transport of nutrients through the cell wall. Chlorine dioxide is much less reactive with organic substances than the previously used bleaching agent. In the absence of pure chlorine involved, the CEF bleaching agent theoretically had to result in a product free of dioxin.

This is not the case, however. Studies have shown that the manufacture of chlorine dioxide does not generate a product as pure as the manufacturers of tampons claim. Most are contaminated with some chlorine gas. In addition, during the commercial production of these products, chemical reactions that take place during the bleaching process release chlorine gas atoms from some of the chlorine dioxide molecules. This increases the chlorine gas load in the bleaching process, thus releasing dioxin. Basically, the new bleaching method decreases the amount of dioxins created, but does not eliminate them completely.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there is no real protection against exposure to dioxin. The FDA has recognized that chlorine dioxide, although without chlorine gas, can still generate dioxins at extremely low levels. A very adept formulation on the FDA website states that “some bleaching processes without chlorine gas can theoretically generate dioxins at extremely low levels and that” traces “of dioxins can be detected in the pulp used to make the buffers .

Since dioxin is cumulative and slow to disintegrate, the real danger comes from repeated contact. I think it’s safe to consider as a repeated contact an exhibition of 5 days a month, 12 months a year, for almost 40 years!


Dioxin is a term used to describe a group of hundreds of very persistent and very toxic chemicals that accumulate in the environment and in our bodies. This toxin is a very dangerous byproduct of many different industrial processes involving chlorine, including waste incineration, chemical pesticide manufacture and bleaching of paper and pulp (which includes raw materials used in conventional buffers).

Dioxin is an organochlorine compound and is produced by a combination of chlorine and organic compounds. As the primary toxic component of Agent Orange, it is considered “the most deadly substance known to mankind” where “literally, a tablespoon [of dioxin] would kill everyone on the planet”

Dioxin is a persistent organic pollutant (POP) that accumulates in the body. Our exposure extends far beyond the monthly buffer contact. This chemical is found in the foods we eat. Levels of accumulation increase as we move up the food chain into our own bodies.

In addition to dioxin levels in the environment and the food supply, tampons are not the only hygiene products that contribute to dioxin intake.

Similar production processes are used on diapers, towels and toilet paper, cotton swabs, cleansing cotton, paper tissues … We use these products around our eyes, our ears, to clean our mouths, noses and our parts the most delicate ones.

And as if cotton soaked in dioxin and pesticides was not enough, the buffers also contain many additional chemicals that include absorption enhancers, deodorants and synthetic fragrances. The presence of dioxin is however the most worrying because it is the one that affects the human body the most.


The risk with regard to dioxin does not depend solely on its quantity, but simply because of its presence. “Subtle effects on reproduction and health occur at doses low enough that the effects are not blatantly visible and they slowly settle insidiously across populations. Dioxin accumulates in humans, particularly in female fat tissue and breast milk. The main means of elimination is therefore through breast milk or placenta. Thus it begins to accumulate in the body of the fetus and, later, in that of the infant. Children and fetuses are therefore most at risk while their nervous and immune systems are in full development. This persistent toxin spreads not only across different populations, but also generically.

Dozens of diseases and conditions are linked to the accumulation of dioxin in the body. They can be grouped into three categories: those involving enzymes, growth factors and hormones.

A recent report from the Agency for Environmental Protection confirms that dioxin is a “carcinogen to humans” and this known carcinogenic chemical is in direct contact with our internal organs and our very sensitive areas. Swedish studies have linked dioxin-containing buffers to an increase in cancers of the female reproductive system.

With the activation of the Ah receptor, dioxin results in a wide range of biological responses that are considered important for the carcinogenesis process, including changes in gene expression, metabolic change, alteration of growth and differentiation cell, as well as the disruption of steroid hormones and growth factors.

These changes are responsible for immunotoxic, teratogenic and carcinogenic responses.

Tampons are placed against moist adipose tissue for extended periods of time creating an ideal environment for the absorption of chemicals. Dioxin acts as an endocrine disruptor … Changes in hormone levels and receptors lead to an alteration of homeostasis that should be the network of mechanisms of the body’s feedback to maintain a balance of these hormones. One of the diseases most directly related to the endocrine disruption effect of buffered dioxin is endometriosis, a condition in which endometrial cells of the uterine lining develop inappropriately outside the uterus. ‘uterus. They grow on the ovaries, outside the uterus or fallopian tubes or elsewhere in the abdominal cavity. Dioxin acts on an enzyme that increases estrogen levels and its effects on the endometrium. The uncontrolled growth of endometriosis can cause intestinal problems as it strangles the bowel’s natural movements. It has also been linked to problems of reproduction and infertility by making impregnation practically impossible.

In addition to cancer and endometriosis, growth, enzyme and hormone disturbances caused by exposure to dioxin have been associated with congenital anomalies, inability to carry a full-term pregnancy, decreased fertility, reduced sperm count, diabetes, learning disabilities, suppression of the immune system, lung problems, skin diseases, and reduced levels of testosterone.


The presence of dioxin is not the only health hazard caused by Tampax tampons. The commercially available tampons use synthetic viscose fibers that have been associated with both toxic shock and sexually transmitted disease syndromes. Toxic shocks can start with flu-like symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, high fever, vomiting, and can progress to liver or kidney failure, complete body shock, and death. Studies have shown that synthetic fibers create an ideal environment for the growth of “Staphylococcus aureus” bacteria that cause toxic shock syndrome. These characteristics are attributed to the very high absorbency buffers which, therefore, leave behind concentrated amounts of proteins that these harmful bacteria need to produce their poison. In addition to increasing the risk of toxic shock syndrome, synthetic fibers are abrasive for the vaginal wall which is very sensitive. Tampax tampons are inserted deep into the vagina with an applicator and extend in length. This pushes the tampon against the cervical-uterine area, causing micro-cuts and encrusting buffer fragments in the tissues of the cervix and the vaginal wall (citrinibaum). In addition to the cuts caused by the tampon itself, the removal of the buffer also leaves fibers that may be the cause of future ulcerations.

These ulcerations are caused by the combination of buffer chemicals and the friction caused by its removal. The chemical substances in the tampon “literally eat away vaginal tissue” (citrinibaum). These ulcerations increase a woman’s chances of contracting an STD by creating a gateway to the blood stream. To make matters worse, genetically engineered cotton that is used in the US for commercial production resists the effects of antibiotics. Therefore, women who use GM cotton swabs may not respond as well to the antibiotics prescribed to treat STDs.


During my research, I came across documents dealing with the microscopic and chemical fibers left in their wake by the pads and which are absorbed directly by the adipose tissue and the blood flow and on the mini-experiments that can be done at home for observe them. I myself tried to place a buffer in a glass of water for 6 hours (the average duration of use of a buffer) to make the observation of my own eyes.

When I removed the buffer from the water, I found hundreds of tiny white particles like fluorescent threads hanging in the water, some of which had settled at the bottom of the glass, others were shaving the edges .

Given the amount of particles that were clearly visible to the naked eye, I can only imagine the volume of chemicals and microscopic fibers that are present in the vagina and embedded in the vaginal tissue with each tampon use.


What is dangerous for our body is also harmful to the environment and it is impossible to examine one without the other. Tampax tampons affect the environment, both in terms of chemical pollution and in landfills. For example, outbreaks of dioxin-related epidemics occur in over 13 species of fish in the Great Lakes region. These problems include infertility and birth defects, with worsening effects in subsequent generations. In addition, because the raw materials of Tampax come, in part, from conventional cotton, they contribute directly to the dispersion of toxins sprayed on these crops and released into the environment. Finally, Tampax tampons are simply a scourge. According to the Franklin & Associates waste consultancy office, “6.5 billion tampons and 13.5 billion sanitary napkins, in addition to their packaging, ended up in landfills or sewage systems in 1998 … And according to the Marine Conservation Center, more than 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along US coastal areas between 1998 and 1999. Now that I know more, I can do better.

Safer alternatives. Much, much safer!


While making changes is difficult for the industry, tampons are not impossible. The voice of consumers has already forced the US Senate to pass security laws in the past. Although mass production is not about to stop, there are much safer treatment methods. Returning to 100% cotton pads would reduce the risks associated with synthetic fibers and there is a dioxin-free bleaching process available for mass production. Completely free of bleaching agents and chlorine components, reducing the dispersion of hazardous chemicals in the environment and chemical residues in the product itself. Their bleaching products do not produce dioxin, chloroform or hydrochloric acid, which reduces the biological and chemical pollution of the water. Their bleaching method uses relatively harmless substances such as oxygen, ozone and hydrogen peroxide, which greatly reduces total toxic discharges into the environment.


There are several very valuable options for women. These options are not only safer for our own health, but also for taking into account the health of our planet. Alternative solutions are available for purchase on the internet and in most natural food stores. They include the passage of conventional tampons with bio tampons, natural sea sponges, environmentally friendly reusable towels and menstrual cups.


The 100% organic tampons are made from GMO-free cotton. They contain no irritating dyes, no fragrance, and do not carry the risks associated with synthetic fibers. Choosing organic and chlorine-free cotton reduces the amount of hazardous toxins dispersed in the environment as well as pollution by pesticides and chlorine products while keeping them away from our bodies.

These pads are used in exactly the same way as conventional buffers with varying degrees of absorption, with or without an applicator. It is recommended to use the lowest absorption rate to avoid the risk of toxic shock syndromes. Organic tampons are only slightly more expensive than conventional tampons.